Monday, July 21, 2008

Writing teams and credit

I'm writing a screenplay with some friends.

My friends Saul and Yoni, for whom I was story editor on a previous short animated film of theirs, came up with the idea. They pitched me the concept, which essentially just consisted of the main villain. I took that idea and created a story around it, with the occasional input of Yoni. We did some brainstorming sessions but the bulk of the writing/creating is mine. I wrote half the beat sheet and took it to my writing group last night.

I can't seem to figure out how to designate credit. Obviously I'm the writer, but how much input allows for credit as a writer? Yoni wants to be credited as a co-writer, though he doesn't know how to structure or format a screenplay and so far the creative process has been 90% me and 10% him. Do he and Saul get a "story by" or "characters by" credit? At what point can someone receive a "written by" or co-writer credit? How much actual writing does a person have to do?

How I think I could work around this situation:

Me: Writer
Saul: Based on characters by
Yoni: Story by

All this depends on how much writing Yoni does after the beat sheet of course, but I'm guessing that it's going to be mostly me doing the actual writing. I do know that some writing teams work in the way where one person writes and the other speaks, or does characters. You have to find that balance, so if I can actually develop some system with Yoni where we are writing it together, then that will make it easier to figure out.

Or maybe I should stop worrying about that and just get back to writing the damn thing.

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